When I think of my home and all the beauty it holds, it fills me with a joy that can only be described as ancestral love for my land and people. However, when I continue to think about Hawaiʻi, I see all of the issues, mismanagement, and desecration that’s adversely impacting our islands and people.
We are currently living under a governmental system and in a society that is set up to make it hard to be Hawaiian in Hawaiʻi. Living in a place where foreign entities and people with money and power get to do as they please here while destroying our lands and resources with overdevelopment.
A place where we are being bought out of our ancestral home lands that we have been living on and a part of for generations. A place that allows the desecration of our iwi kupuna (ancestors bones) and sacred traditional sites for the sake of profit. A place that prioritizes tourists and their vacations over the native people of the land and our natural resources.
A place plagued with the military constantly bombing our lands, descrating our sacred sites, destroying vital native habitats, and poisioning our fresh water resources because our precious islands are used for their bases and live-fire target areas.
All of these issues are not new and can actually be directly tied to multiple events throughout our history. These issues are continuing to grow as the years go on. If the native people and our irreplaceable resources are not prioritized soon, there will be no Hawaiʻi left for people to visit.
Despite all of the obstacles set up for us as Hawaiians, I can still see the strength in our people. I see the desire to return and to care for the land because we understand that the land can only provide for us if we take care of her in return. I see our people reflecting on the ways of our ancestors and applying that knowledge to better navigate the challenges in this world. This is the same strength and commitment of our people and culture that motivated our ancestors to keep our language and culture alive when it was banned in our own lands.
More and more, I see my people bringing back the ways of our ancestors while continuing and normalizing our cultural practices. I see a people ready and willing to stand for the protection of our land, rights, and traditions. People with a love for the land so strong they would literally put their lives on the line if that meant they could protect their home from being destroyed.
I dream of a Hawaiʻi where Hawaiians can freely practice our traditions and culture without restrictions or needing to ask permission from government and foreign entities to access our sacred places. A Hawaiʻi where the wellbeing of our people, land, and resources are the number one priority above profit and tourism. A Hawaiʻi governed by those who see the value of our islands through a cultural lens instead of money and power.